Sunday 23 July, 2017
For the director of music. A maskil of David to be played on stringed instruments. 1 God, listen to my prayer. Pay attention to my cry for help. 2 Hear me and answer me. My thoughts upset me. I’m very troubled. 3 I’m troubled by what my enemies say about me. I’m upset because they say they will harm me. They cause me all kinds of suffering. When they are angry, they attack me with their words. 4 I feel great pain deep down inside me. The terrors of death have fallen on me. 5 Fear and trembling have taken hold of me. Panic has overpowered me. 6 I said, “I wish I had wings like a dove! Then I would fly away and be at rest. 7 I would escape to a place far away. I would stay out in the desert. 8 I would hurry to my place of safety. It would be far away from the winds and storms I’m facing.” 9 Lord, confuse the sinners and keep them from understanding one another. I see people destroying things and fighting in the city. 10 Day and night they prowl around on top of its walls. The city is full of crime and trouble. 11 Forces that destroy are at work inside it. Its streets are full of people who cheat others and take advantage of them. 12 If an enemy were making fun of me, I could stand it. If he were getting ready to oppose me, I could hide. 13 But it’s you, someone like myself. It’s my companion, my close friend. 14 We used to enjoy good friendship at the house of God. We used to walk together among those who came to worship. 15 Let death take my enemies by surprise. Let them be buried alive, because their hearts and homes are full of evil. 16 But I call out to God. And the Lord saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I groan and cry out. And he hears my voice. 18 Even though many enemies are fighting against me, he brings me safely back from the battle. 19 God has been on his throne since ancient times and does not change. He will hear my enemies and make them humble. That’s because they have no respect for God. 20 My companion attacks his friends. He breaks his promise. 21 His talk is as smooth as butter. But he has war in his heart. His words flow like olive oil. But they are like swords ready for battle. 22 Turn your worries over to the Lord. He will keep you going. He will never let godly people be shaken. 23 God, you will bring sinners down to the grave. Murderers and liars won’t live out even half of their lives. But I trust in you.
This Psalm is not the most encouraging, or uplifting passage to read in the morning, as one prepares for the day ahead. But it actually can turn our thinking, as we all journey through difficulties at times in our lives. The Psalmist is in a dark place at this time. He is suffering betrayal from a friend, who was obviously a close friend. Who this is, we do not know. But we have all been there.
This Psalm moves in three stages, from fear to fury and then finally to faith. Fear leads only to desire to flee. Fury only emphasizes the consciousness of the wrong. Faith alone creates courage.
V22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain You”. This is the verse which I believe is the emphasis for this passage for today. Note that the verse does not state that He will takes away our troubles, but that He will sustain us through the troubles. Our faith in God will give us the courage, knowing that the one who created the universe in its entirety, is journeying with us, before us, ahead and alongside, in times of turmoil.
Thank you Lord for you faithfulness to me, that despite my failings, and at times lack of trust in You, that you give me the faith to be courageous. I ask this again for this new day ahead. Amen
Written by Steve Fell
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